By Donna Rovins, The Mercury
West Pottsgrove >> Just in time for the kick-off of the holiday season, Schuylkill Valley Sports has opened its newest location.
The 5,500-square-foot store in Upland Square Shopping Center opened its doors on Nov. 16 and will replace the Coventry Square Mall store, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year.
“We are thrilled to expand our reach to the local community. We have been serving this area for almost 45 years,” Jerry Williams, president of Schuylkill Valley Sports said in a press release. “The combination of our retail and team sales business has proven to be a success, and we’re excited about the new location and possibilities it brings.”
Loretta Pavie started working for Schuylkill Valley Sports 15½ years ago, when she was a sophomore in college. She has worked at the Coventry Mall throughout her career and is now managing both the Upland Square and Coventry Mall stores. She said the move is “kind of bittersweet” after being in one location for so long.
“I’m very excited to be at a brand new location; it’s a beautiful store. And to see the customer’s reaction when they come in to the store and how excited they are to have us here, it’s definitely a positive,” she said. “I just hope the customers are as excited as we are. We’re looking forward to being able to continue to serve them, and to be a part of the community.”
Pavie said that since the store opened last week, there has been a steady flow of customers.
“We’ve gotten a great reaction from our customers,” she added. “We’ve seen some familiar faces that have shopped with us at the mall for years, but we’ve also seen some new faces, which is encouraging.”
The Upland Square Store may have a smaller footprint than Coventry Mall, but Pavie said the new location has a wide selection of merchandise and employees will still check with other stores within the current 18 store chain to find what customers are looking for.
“We’re still the same Schuylkill Valley Sports, just in a different location,” she said.
In an October interview with The Mercury, Schuylkill Valley Sports Marketing Director and Buyer Phil Baumgardner said the company was using the move to launch what he called key brand concept shops, which he said would offer a “new, fresh look on the merchandising of key brands” like Under Armour, Nike and North Face.
“We’re highlighting the brands in a better light, have a better selection of certain products and newer products. And we’re just putting more of a focus on what the consumer is looking for,” said Pavie. She added that the relationship with the companies will allow Schuylkill Valley Sports to special order merchandise if it’s not something Schuylkill Valley Sports typically carries.
In addition, Pavie said the store will continue to carry a wide selection of professional sports jerseys, clothing and novelty items.
“Even though it’s a smaller store, we still have all the teams — not just the Philly sports teams,” she said.
To mark the opening of the Upland Square store and the holiday shopping season, Schuylkill Valley Sports will hold a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
According to the release, all customers on Saturday will receive a gift with purchase. In addition, customers can take advantage of grand opening specials in all departments on fan gear, sports equipment, footwear, bags and backpacks through Dec. 6. For a complete list of special offers, visitwww.svsports.com/mktg/sale/grand-opening.html
Schuylkill Valley Sports has been serving eastern and central Pa. sporting goods needs since 1971, and Baumgardner said the store has been in Coventry Mall for about 30 years. He said the decision to move locations was based on a consumer preference for outdoor or strip malls, versus traditional malls.
The Coventry Mall store remains open with a new Fan Shop, featuring a selection of team apparel, novelties and collectables. In addition, a brand new “Outlet Shop” will feature a huge selection of apparel, footwear, sports equipment at discounted pricing, according to the release.